Before I start, I have an important announcement from Double K: "Tell YoYoPo and the rest of the forum cats that I said 'what's up'... and that it looks ready to me!"
Also, another tidbit: Thes & KK kept singing the 12sp Michael McDonald WRLA commercials to themselves the whole night. Haha... that sh*t is a major earworm to those dudes (I caught myself singin' it myself on the car ride down to the show). Anyway, to the review...
Once again, I overestimated the traffic between Sactown & Oakland and got there ~45 min ahead of door time. No fans were there yet, and Mike and Chris were outside, unloading their car. I said "what's up", then parked a block over and went in (they didn't even have any security dudes manning the door yet).
I watched the guys set-up on stage, shout some suggestions to the sound guy, and run a "Back In Black"/"Double K Show" soundcheck (got a couple seconds of it on my iPhone). Meanwhile, the New Parish staff finally noticed me hanging around & a booker or manager or something asked me who I was. Mike & Thes shouted "oh, he's helping us!" from the stage, and the guy gave me an all-access wristband. (For most of the night, I was the homies' drink-runner, go-fer, group-photo-taker at the merch table, and camera-man / back-up dancer during their performance. It was wild!)
Thes put out merch and then went and met the opening acts who had just shown up: Solganix (a funk/soul/hip hop band) and Melina Jones (an SF-based "Mistress of Ceremonies"). (I saw Melina perform, and she did a great job, tho the crowd wasn't too enthused... opening act syndrome. I missed Organix 'cause I was in the green room with PUTS the whole time. From what I heard coming through the walls, they also sounded really funky. Better than the last batch New Parish had opening for PUTS a few years ago.)
Thes had me bring PUTS' record bags/backpacks up to the green room (which was NICE, by the way; even had an outdoor deck) and told me to grab a beer (Red Stripe, if you're curious). Double K showed up a second later, and then Thes came in, and I got the lowdown on the tour thus far: the performances have been great, but the logistics have been a nightmare. Basically, the guys have been put up in really crappy hotels (even had to relocate out of a particularly bad one that appeared to be partially operating as a prostitution house), and their flight for today (the day after the Oakland show) was cancelled on them, and so they had to get a different flight and get up way earlier today. Thes also got a hardcore sinus infection and has been on steroids. He also said he wasn't supposed to drink any beer ("may cause projectile vomiting"), but he had a couple anyway, and we all stood behind him for the rest of the night.
Thes also showed me some specifics about the Rob Ford dance I needed to get right. A bit of a crowd had shown up by this point, and the cats headed to the merch table to sell things. I still talked with them a bit, and I found out a few things:
- Thes said that the album release show last week had the most profitable/successful merch table in the band's history.
- Double K generally likes Black on Both Sides as an album, but he hates that clubs always play "Ms. Fat Booty" all the time (like they did before the show), and he thinks its the weakest track on the album.
- PUTS told me that, as far as they know, Tribe still hasn't heard "Check The Vibe", and they were joking about how Michael Rapaport (the director of that Tribe documentary) would react negatively to it, and they started talking sh*t about themselves in a high-pitched voice. I wish I could remember specifically what they said, 'cause I was howling.
- Double K's brother (the one in Villain Park) is turning 18 today, and Double K told me that he remembers when he was born. He said that the first thing he did was to pick up his brother and play Street Level to him. Wish my parents would've done that, hahahaha.
- Sadder news: Double K's uncle (not Dolla Bill, but the other one who did the "Freeze in the Name of the Law" skit on some copies of the Back on the Block 12") passed away in the past few weeks.
Thes disappeared from the merch table after awhile, so Double and I kept talking a bit while he took over on merch. Double's merch-selling style is WAY different than Thes. Thes didn't have him running credit cards, so KK was cash only, and he even gave away a free T-shirt to some cute ladies (one of them had on an old-school Run DMC T-shirt that Double was buggin' over).
At this point, Melina Jones had come on, and she was killing it, but the front row of the crowd was just sorta staring at her; I felt hella bad. I'll bob my head with an opener even if I'm not hyped, just because it's important to keep the vibe flowing, but in this case, I was genuinely into it, and I could see some people look at me and realize it was alright to be into the opener, and (I think) I got a few people head-nodding.
Anyway, Double and I talked about a lot more stuff, including the Brothaload demos made after the Question tour, the future dates on this tour, how he cuts the records they use for touring, and a couple other things. Double K filled me in on his solo work a bit more, and we talked a little bit about the creative music process: basically, he makes music, but then is a little self-conscious about the final product. He thinks that he has good ideas, but he said he wants to take a few demo tracks he's done and give the lyrics an overhaul, and he's got about 5 or 6 new tracks done that he's happier with than the older stuff. When i asked him about specific stuff, he said he was really happy with "Plantation Music". He and I tend to agree that both quickly-made/raw albums (Bloquera, Tha Brothaload demos, early PUTS) and the stuff that's given more production/care (later PUTS albums, etc.) both have an important place in music, and I get the feeling from both members of PUTS that they are really happy with the extra work they put in on the albums recently. I tried to suggest doing a double-sized album, with half raw tracks and half well-produced, but we got interrupted to snap another merch-table group picture, and I forgot to bring it back up.
I went looking for Thes after awhile, and he was actually having to deal with more tour BS (I won't get into details, but it involved show payment.) It took a long time, but he eventually got it straightened out, and then he went back down, closed out the merch, and we all went back up to the green room. Thes also brought another guy & his lady up to the green room. I guess he's gone to a lot of their shows and always missed meeting PUTS, and it was his birthday, I think, so he got the backstage treatment, geeked out a little (not putting him down, I did too my first couple times), and got some siggys and snapped a pic. He wanted Thes to bust a freestyle, but Thes was adamantly against it 'cause he was saving his throat (because of the infection) for the show. That guy said that he'd been on the UK forums before intermittently, but I didn't catch his screenname, and I don't know if he'll show up on here. (I just added him on FaceBook.) He chatted up PUTS for awhile & left, and then I went down into the crowd for a while to give the homies some pre-show space and catch the feeling around the joint. About 10 minutes later, I went back to the green room door and caught the homies coming out to do their set.
Thes handed me his iPhone so I could snap shots of them while they did their show, and so for their entire set, I was kinda all over the place. I didn't have a chance to write down their set-list this time 'cause I was too busy with camera duties, but it was very similar to the release show. The crowd this time was crazy nuts:
- There was an Asian guy in the front row that had his arms wide, head back, and mouth open almost the whole time... I think I caught him licking his jacket at one point... now... I've never done anything wild personally, but is that some ecstasy sh*t or something?
- Thes stage dove during "1 Up", check the pic on his instagram (snapped by yours truly!) at the top of this post.
- There was a party of about 5-10 people in the back of the crowd wearing Viking helmets (with the horns), and Thes even shouted them out at one point during the show. He was given a Viking helmet to wear during "Beer", and one of the horns fell off, but he kept wearing it during a large part of the song. It was hilarious.
- There was a dude that looked like ?uestlove (mad 'fro, yo) in the front row that Double pointed out at one point and good-naturedly teased (the guy took it in stride)... funniest thing about that dude was, by the end of the show, he was going IN on this one white chick in a summer dress, and he was going places. Double K and I after the show were saying "?uestlove better be f*ckin' right now, man." Prompted me to hashtag #questlovegotsome on Double's instagram wall. Anyway...
- Craziest part of the night (more or less): this one HUGE 300-pound white guy with a beard was glassy-eyed and throwing elbows the whole first part of the show (it looked to me like he was actually trying to swing at Thes or something at a couple points), and when PUTS started Tuxedo Rap (with a "party time is anytime" intro), he actually started throwing punches... so much so that one smaller guy had to get on the stage to get away from him. Security had to step in and, unfortunately, they shoved the little guy off the stage, thinking he was the trouble-maker... as soon as they did that tho, Thes talked to them and corrected them on the situation, and they dragged the big dude out of there. (Cocaine's a helluva drug.) PUTS actually had to stop the music, but after they got the guy out, Thes and Double jumped RIGHT back on the track, and the crowd went wild... if anything, it actually strengthened the response. It was amazing. I heard security saying later that the guy was still trying sh*t when they got him out and was claiming that they'd hurt him. Wild.
- Most important part of the night for me personally... and the ANNOUNCEMENT: During their recent shows, PUTS have been playing the end part of "Pictures on My Wall" (the Rob Ford dance), and Thes has been teaching the crowd how to do it, but last night, he wanted to make an announcement, and he had me get in on it (partially because of my Instagram-ed Rob Ford dance video). He called me up like I was some random dude out of the audience (later he explained that I was a plant), and had me watch him do the dance two times, and then he had me do it like three or four times in front of everyone. I normally have a bit of stage fright, but I was all good last night (blame it on the Red Stripe). I actually got a good crowd reaction, and I didn't mess up like I thought I would.
THEN he announced that PUTS will be having an Instagram Rob Ford dance contest with a $1,000 Grand Prize!!!!. Thes and I will be getting a website together soon, and he actually told me that he'd like me to oversee/referee the contest. (!!!) From what I think I know of it right now, people just need to hashtag their dance post #robforddance. So basically, we announced it, but we're still getting the deets together. FRESH!! Stay tuned.
- For the encore, Melina Jones was brought back up for a freestyle (again, killed it), and then PUTS did the "Hang Loose", all-the-ladies-get-on-the-stage thing, and it was mayhem. Some tripped-out girl actually started waving a mic stand around in the back near me.
- I took a GANG of pics/vids with Thes' phone, and I only left him like 15% to handle credit card swipes at the merch table after the show. (Whoops, haha.)
After the show, Thes sold out of basically almost all the merch supplies they brought in, the three of us went across the room to the bar for one last drink, and then Thes went to handle the payment for the evening (it took him longer than anticipated, and I didn't see him for the rest of the night. Had to tell Double to just say "bye and thanks!" to him for me.) But Double and I talked to each other for another hour after the crowd left, just about random sh*t... I think most of it was about our dogs being so d*mn funny (we both own small terriers... his is named "Archie Funker", ha!)
So, yeah, that's it... drove back and got home around 3 a.m... and still got to Saturday overtime by 6 a.m... I think I got like 2 hours of sleep. Because of that, I'm actually exhausted tonight (it's only 10 p.m. right now), so I think I'll call it a night. I usually go back through my posts and try to self-edit and truncate things, but I'm too tired, so sorry if this has mistakes or is way too long... goodnight, y'all!
One last thing: Since the PUTS forum will mark me as a spammer if I put too many links into a post, I just made a webpage with the pictures I took at the show and put it on my website... enjoy! http://www.thepointoftherhyme.com/Oakland2014.htm